Climate/Terrain:Outlands, Carceri, Abyss, Pandemonium
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Semi- (2-4)
No. Appearing:1-6
Armor Class:3
Hit Dice:3-8
No. of Attacks:1 per Hit Die
Damage/Attack:1d6 + special
Special Attacks:Blood drain
Special Defenses:Thorns
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:L (10’ vines)
Morale:Fearless (19-20)
XP Value:3 HD: 175
4 HD: 270
5 HD: 420
6 HD: 650
7 HD: 975
8 HD: 1,400

The bloodthorn’s a tough, wiry plant that grows in thick, briarlike patches. It’s normally dull black, and its stem is dry and desiccated. The plant has several luxurious clumps of small-bladed leaves and lush, reddish berries; in the barren wastelands of Gehenna and Pandemonium, the bloodthorn appears almost too good to be true. ’Course, in the kinds of places a body finds bloodthorn, anything that’s too good to be true is just that, and any cutter with a lick of sense knows enough to give these things a wide berth. Then again, it’s astonishing what some sods’ll overlook when they’re really hungry and the bloodthorn’s berries look ripe for the picking.

If a body takes a moment to look carefully at the bloodthorn bush, he’ll probably spot a number of long, dangerous thorns lying close against the vine’s stem. Even then some sods aren’t dissuaded from trying to get at the berries; unless a body’s right on top of the plant, it doesn’t even quiver. Only when something’s in striking distance does the bloodthorn make its move.

Combat: When an animal or traveler comes within 10 feet of a bloodthorn plant, the vine quickly abandons its innocuous pose and lashes out at its prey. The plant can strike with 3 to 8 long, thorn-studded stems. The thorns extend to their full length of 3 inches, and each tendril becomes a razor-lined lash. If any vine hits by a margin of 4 or more (over the attack number needed to hit), it manages to wrap around its prey and embed its thorns in the victim’s flesh. Each round that the victim is caught by a vine, he loses hit points equal to the initial damage caused by the attack. For example, if the initial slash of the vine caused 4 points of damage, the vine drains 4 hit points of blood in each subsequent round until the victim dies or breaks free.

The bloodthorn’s not particularly strong, but its vines are tougher than a Taker’s heart, and the cursed thorns tend to lock and catch on each other if the vine circles the victim’s body or legs. As a result, a creature trying to pull free by brute force has to succeed at a bend bars/lift gates roll. The whole plant usually doesn’t weigh more than 200 or 360 pounds, so a strong basher might end up dragging the whole bloodthorn patch after him if he just tries to pull himself free.

Cutting the vine’s a better way to go, but a sod’ll need a Type S weapon. The vines are AC 3, and each one takes 8 points of damage to sever. The thorns of a severed vine still drain blood until the whole vine is carefully removed — a process that takes a full round.

The bloodthorn briar has only one truly vulnerable spot: a dense root-bulb or base stem hidden under all the other thorny stems. It’s hard to get to, and killing the base stem doesn’t stop any blood drain that’s already taking place. Any stems that haven’t latched on to something stop attacking when the plant is killed, anyway.

The bloodthorn’s a mindless thing that attacks until it or its prey is dead. The whole plant retreats from open flame, and any stam that’s seared immediately releases its victim and curls back up under the main plant.

Habitat/Society: Bloodthorns are found all over the area of the Outlands nearest the Abyss, as well as the neighboring planes. Unless a cutter knows what to look for, it’s real easy to be surprised by what appears to be nothing more than an ordinary briar of some kind. Attempts to plant patches as a deterrent to intruders usually fail because of the plant’s ability to move itself to better hunting grounds.

One of the dead giveaways about the bloodthorn’s true nature is the fact that it grows in places where other plants can’t survive. The bloodthorn derives most of its sustenance from the blood of small animals and birds, and is pretty much independent of any kin of sunshine or rain.

In the barren places of its home planes, the bloodthorn often grows in patches of several plants. These can be especially dangerous, since a sod could find himself attached to several plants each trying to drain him dry before the others.

Ecology: As noted above, the bloodthorn subsists on the blood of its victims. Most normal animals of its home planes have learned to be wary of it, but it keeps spreading into new parts of the Outlands where the local wildlife (and careless travelers!) don’t know to stay away from it. The plant’s berries act as a lure for hungry wayfarers, but if someone perseveres and manages to collect some of the bloodthorn’s fruit, it’s barely worth the trouble — the berries are bland and tasteless.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

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